Dear Abby

Dear Abby, and her twin sister Ann Landers have both retired, and later died.  Abby’s daughter, Jeanne, was (is?) carrying on the advice column her mother penned.  Other yentas, both Jewish and not, have come, and some have rapidly gone.  From one of them, I give you the following question and answer.

Dear Abby; I recently discovered that my son, who is 17, is a homosexual.  We are part of a church group, and I fear that, if people in that group find out, they will make fun of me for having a gay child.

He won’t listen to reason, and he will not stop being gay.  I feel as if he is doing this just to get back at me for forgetting his birthday for the past three years.  I have a very busy work schedule.

Please help him make the right choice in life by not being gay.  He won’t listen to me, so maybe he’ll listen to you.

Feeling Betrayed

 

Dear Betrayed; You could teach your son an important lesson by changing your own sexuality, to show him how easy it is.  Try it for the next year or so.

Stop being a heterosexual to demonstrate to your son that a person’s sexual orientation is a matter of choice – to be dictated by one’s parents, the parents’ church, and social pressure.

I assume that my suggestion will evoke a reaction that your sexuality is at the core of who you are.  The same is true for your son.  He has the right to be accepted by his parents for being exactly who he is.

When you “forget” a child’s birthday, you are basically negating him as a person.  It is as if you are saying that you have forgotten his presence in the world.  How very sad for him.

Pressuring your son to change his sexuality is wrong.  If you cannot accept him as he is, it might be safest for him to live elsewhere.

A group that could help you and your family figure out how to navigate this is pflag.org (In Canada, see pflagcanada.ca.)  This organization is founded for parents, families, friends and allies of LGBT people, and has helped countless families through this challenge.  Please research and connect with a local chapter.

***

Advice columnists have to be well-mannered and respectful.  Me??  My reply would probably started with, “Really, Bob??!  Do you think you could possibly make this any more about you?”  In this day and age, it still amazes me how powerful the religiously-driven willfully-blind syndrome can be.  Bad enough that he still thinks that being gay is a choice, and one made just to spite him and his ego, but even worse, that he thinks some advice columnist can, or will, do, what he as a parent, cannot.  There are none so blind, as those who will not see.

***

A man walks into a bookstore….

Sadly, this is not the opening line to a joke – at least not intentionally.  The “man” is the well-known, powerfully connected pastor of a large Protestant New York church.  After thundering from the pulpit about an attack on the Christian faith, he calls all his political buddies and complains to them, to the point that he is contacted by the TV show, The View, where he gets to complain an national television about how Christianity don’t get no  respect.

What was the trigger for all this, “Alas, woe is us?”  While he was in the bookstore, he saw some Bibles which were on sale.  That would seem to be a good thing for Christians….except, the shelf tag, advertising the sale, also listed them under “Fiction.”

As a minor addendum, after he finished whining to Elizabeth Hasselback, he finally admitted that it might have merely been an inattentive clerical oversight.  I think that, like above, the It’s All About Us button was pushed too soon and too hard, but, if it’s good enough for Brittany Spears and Lady Gaga, it’s good enough for the Bishop of New York.  I say, only change the tag when he can prove they’re not.

***

The pastor of a fairly large suburban Philadelphia Methodist church has been suspended for 30 days, to reflect on his actions and attitudes.  It was not said that he was suspended without pay, merely that his pastoral powers were temporarily removed.  He cannot perform weddings, or offer Holy Sacrament.

What was his crime, you ask?  He married his son, two years ago.  No, no!  Not like that!  He officiated at his son’s wedding.  I still see some confused faces, although that’s common on this site.  I’ll give you a hint.  Psst, his son is gay, and the Methodist Church don’t allow no equal rights, gay marriage ‘round here!

He was invited to a private little Star Chamber meeting by the ruling synod, who chastised him for marrying gays, in defiance of Church doctrine.  He fired back, rebuking them and the Methodist Church for not being more loving, acceptant, and inclusive.  That, at this late date, is what actually got him censured, this lack of blind faith and obedience, and of course, a tendency to think for himself.

This man has not been afflicted with the trials of Job himself, but I find it ironic, that, in a Denomination which does not believe in gays, three of the four children of this pastor, are gay.  It’s no wonder he’s fighting for their equality.

I love Jesus; it’s just many of his followers that I hate!

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6 thoughts on “Dear Abby

  1. benzeknees says:

    Back when I was trying to make the decision about whether I wanted my life to include faith, I started attending church. I loved the peacefulness of the service & the wonderful feeling of being loved. However, as soon as the service was over & we were invited to have coffee, it seemed like it was a signal for all the worst of people to come out. I would overhear catty remarks from people about the clothing worn by someone & gossip about what was going on behind closed doors of others. This really turned me off the church for a while until I realized I was holding these people to an impossible standard. After all, they are only people with all their human foibles. Just because they are Christian doesn’t mean they magically become “better” than anyone else (although a lot of them do honestly believe they are). Once I got over myself, I realized I could take from the church exactly what I needed & leave the rest for others.

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  2. Jim Wheeler says:

    Great post, Archon. I could not agree more. I especially liked the Dear Abby story.

    Benzeknees makes a good point too. I had a similar experience over the years trying to embrace biblical teachings, but I am further along the road of reasoning than b. The more I tried to parse Christianity and the more I puzzled over the bible’s inconsistencies, the more frustrated I became. Once you arrive at the point when you cherry-pick the parts you like and reject the others, I don’t see how there’s any going back to blind faith.

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    • Archon's Den says:

      I really owe you a response on this one, but it’s a very complicated and confusing subject, and you and Benze were doing so well by yourselves.
      Most people can’t/won’t think for themselves, so they allow their religious leaders to do the cherry picking for them and blindly believe only what they’re told, because they’re not told that there are options, alternatives and inconsistencies.
      Atheists know more about what’s in the Bible than most “Good Christians”, because they actually read and comparative study it. My “Good Catholic” wife told me that they weren’t allowed to read the Bible, for fear of “misinterpreting” it.
      With only the limited study I’ve done, I’ve often wondered how priests and ministers who have attended seminaries and Theological College can stand in front of their flocks and make the claims they do, and keep a straight face. 😕

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      • Jim Wheeler says:

        I’ve often wondered how priests and ministers who have attended seminaries and Theological College can stand in front of their flocks and make the claims they do, and keep a straight face. 😕

        Me too. The more one studies the bible the more apparent is its inconsistency.

        During my plebe year at the Naval Academy I had two roommates, one of whom was Roman Catholic and came from a large devout family. Some of his relatives were priests. He astounded me by resigning from the Navy after successfully completing his first year, the hazing, college algebra and trig, first year German, chemistry, mechanical drawing, etc.

        Forty years later he and I made contact by internet and telephone. He had entered seminar soon after leaving USNA and became a priest. His first assignment involved some politically-sensitive social work and in trying to do what he described as the moral thing he got crosswise with his superiors and was fired. After that, he left the priesthood, but not the religion. He became a house remodeler. He also married and had a family. He said he was thankful for that first year of college math because it enabled his livelihood. He mentioned that he had always been and still was financially stressed. He didn’t say so, but it seemed he was still devout.

        What’s the takeaway on this story? To me it is that the will to spirituality, while variable in the population, can be powerful enough to overwhelm high intelligence. But those who most sincerely believe, like my friend, are likely to be overwhelmed when reality intrudes. My guess is that those who rise to high rank in the religion business are the pragmatists who see their role as one of superior intelligence and insight leading a generally clueless flock. There could be exceptions, but I believe this to be the rule.

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  3. benzeknees says:

    I take the Bible as stories, told by men of the time to try to teach lessons about faith to others. I don’t take it literally, otherwise I could never believe in anything.

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  4. […] is the expanded version of a thought which recently triggered a 100 word story on the Flash Fiction stage, along with some observations, feelings, and pretty pictures.  Much of this has previously […]

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